SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - It has been mild the last few days, but don't forget that winter is almost here, and there are some legal responsibilities you have this time of year. Shoveling and salting can save you from a lawsuit.
Legally, you are responsible for ice and snow removal on the sidewalk around your home, as well as any areas involved in entering and exiting your property. This includes clearing along your driveway, outside stairs, paths, and any other means people could use to get to your front doorstep. Ignoring your responsibilities as a homeowner could result in a fine or a lawsuit.
Still, you don't need to panic at the sign of the first flakes, says Attorney Barry Ryan of the Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury, and Murphy law firm in Springfield.
"Your obligation only arises, unless there's a serious circumstance, within a reasonable time after a snowstorm stops. So, you're not expected to be out there in the middle of the storm shoveling, sanding and salting, but use reasonable care," Ryan said.
If you rent an apartment, it's typically the landlord's responsibility to remove snow and ice in the winter, unless you have agreed otherwise.
If you end up slipping outside someone's home or business, it is your responsibility to notify the owner as soon as possible.